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YOUR SUMMER MOVIE PREVIEW
Pick some flicks from this season’s slate of remakes, sequels, docs, dramas, and comedies

ABOUT A BAT
Christopher Nolan takes a fresh look at the Dark Knight’s origins

THE DARK SIDE
Batman is a heroic icon, but he doesn’t belong on your kid’s Happy Meal

SCHOOL OF HARD ROCKS
‘Rock School’ hilariously profiles a most unconventional music teacher

101 NARRATIONS
Talking dirty with Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza of ‘The Aristocrats’

STATE OF THE UNIONS
With the election of Villaraigosa, the most powerful union city in America finds itself at a crossroads

STAGING AREA
Round two: Mega-developer Tom Gilmore wrestles a minority theater company for control of a historic downtown building

GOING GANGBUSTERS
New federal gang legislation will increase death penalty crimes, possibly for juveniles

GREGG ARAKI
The cult filmmaker on aliens, MTV, and staring at people for fun


Cartoon By Ted Rall


Photographs by Gary Leonard

TINSEL AND TOMBSTONES

DARK MATTERS
Eric Bogosian on his latest novel, making art, being political, and what’s next

REVENGE OF THE NERDS

ARE WE NOT MONKEY'S?
Melt-Banana takes up the de-evolution charge

FRESH CONSTRUCTION
By embracing techno, Chris Fortier is building a new wing of house

ZOO STORY
Escaping from captivity is the easy part for the critters of the amusing ‘Madagascar’

~ LATEST REVIEWS ~

~ NOW PLAYING ~

~ SHOWTIMES ~

~ SCREENINGS ~

SICK SWORDSMAN
Hanzo the Razor is no Zatoichi

'EMPIRE' SOAP

~ SOUNDS ~
~ CONCERTS ~
~ STAGE ~
~ GALLERIES ~
~ PRINT ~
~ GIVE IT UP! ~

THE PLACE THAT STOPPED TIME
The Dresden Room evokes a certain kind of mid-’60s dining in every way

~ DINING GUIDE ~

FRESH CONSTRUCTION
By embracing techno, Chris Fortier is building a new wing of house

~ By DENNIS ROMERO ~

~ Flow Master: Fortier ~

ften unbeknownst to even die-hard clubgoers, techno, house, and even some strains of “progressive” got their start right here in America. That last one’s hard to swallow for followers of British and European prog kings such as Sasha, John Digweed, and Sander Kleinenberg. Truth is, the forward-thinking sounds of progressive, an electronic offshoot of slower, soulful house music, were forged in the imaginations of DJs who flew back and forth between the U.K. and Florida in the early ’90s. It’s a truly transatlantic sound, if not a product of the entire globe. As early as 15 years ago, young DJs such as Kimball Collins and progressive pioneer Chris Fortier were laying down their own vision of post-house music on two turntables in Orlando.

Back in 1993, Digweed says, he traveled to Orlando, at the time a burgeoning rave underground, where a small middle-class community of DJs set up shop at clubs such as Aahz, Metro, and Simon’s in nearby Gainesville. “I’m playing with Dave Cannalte, Kimball Collins, and I’m meeting people like Chris Fortier,” he says. “We’re all into the same thing musically. They’d be showing me stuff that I hadn’t heard of and vice versa.”

Fortier, a dance-music fan from the coastal town of Melbourne, moved to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida. But as the ’90s dawned, he was studying the spin sessions of local legend Collins and holding down his own residency at Metro. Collins had begun bringing British DJs he had seen at U.K. club Renaissance – Sasha and Dave Seaman – to Florida for gigs. Digweed soon followed. The Brits bonded with Fortier and fellow jock Jimmy Van M – they often exchanged music – and they have maintained close ties ever since. Fortier cofounded a Digweed-revering record pool called Balance, and also helps run a spin-off booking office, The Collective Agency, that handles the world’s top prog-house spinners. When Sasha and Digweed landed at New York’s Twilo in 1997 for perhaps the era’s greatest DJ residency, Fortier and Van M followed, also earning marquee slots at the club’s hallowed decks and later moving to New York full-time. In 1999, Fortier scored one of the biggest underground hits of the last 10 years when his remix work on Delirium’s “Silence,” featuring the voice of Sarah McLachlan, hit the clubs.

Fortier has continued to thrive, constantly touring the globe’s dance floors – he has 35 stops scheduled between May and August 20, including a Hollywood performance on June 17 – and churning out a new mix-CD, Balance 007, that officially marks the end of the progressive era and the beginning of the new “tech-house” generation. “You see the track list and say wow, these are techno artists,” says the 34-year-old Fortier.

“I’m just trying to find music that is exciting to me,” he says. “I don’t want to sit back and settle. I want it fresh and moving forward.”

The sleeveless-T-shirt-sporting fans of dark progressive, tribal house, and trance have sent many top progressive DJs running for something fresh. Buenos Aires’ Hernan Cattaneo, as well as Dutchman Kleinenberg and Digweed himself, have all touched on the more minimal, cantankerous sounds of techno. (Diggers touts Germany’s Kompakt as a favorite label.) But only Fortier has burned the envelope, embracing techno full-on, and leaving 10-minute tracks with huge break-downs and melodramatic vocal interludes back in the ’90s, where they belong. Balance 007, released earlier this month, is amazingly melodic and fluid, taking the 808 thud and omnipresent hi-hats of techno’s past and adding sublime, sustained synths and fluid waves of bouncing bass. “This is definitely more of a statement than anything else I’ve ever done,” Fortier says.

For Balance 007, Fortier took a page out of Sasha’s book, similarly using the Ableton Live software program to mesh songs together on a track-by-track (bass, drums, synth) level. But, while Sasha ended up with a 10-song gem of a collection in last year’s Involver, Fortier has a three-disc, 21-song, after-hours opus. He took great pains to make the disc flow, and it’s indeed difficult to figure out where one song ends and another begins.

“There’s tons of editing, taking beats from one and adding them to another,” Fortier says. “It’s something that needs to be done if you’re trying to sculpt music, which is basically how I look at it – creating something of an orchestra of its own kind. While it’s futuristic, it’s also reflective of everything I’ve been into for the last 15 years.”



Chris Fortier spins Friday, June 17, at King King, 6555 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Info: kingkinghollywood.com.

05-26-05





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